Dismas (Diz) Locaria is a member of the firm's Government Contracts Group. Mr. Locaria's practice focuses on assisting government contractors in all aspects of working with the Federal government. Mr. Locaria has extensive experience assisting clients with regulatory and contract/grant term counseling, compliance (including ethics and integrity compliance), responsibility matters, such as suspension, debarment and other contracting/grant exclusions, small business matters and GSA Federal Supply Schedule contracting. Mr. Locaria also represents and counsels clients with the peculiarities of the Homeland Security Act, including obtaining and maintaining SAFETY Act protections.
Government Contract and Grant Counseling and Compliance: Mr. Locaria has a wealth of knowledge regarding applicable contract (e.g., the Federal Acquisition Regulation) and grant (e.g., OMB Circular A-110 and A-122) regulations, including the application of these regulations to both prime contractors/grant recipients and subcontractors/subgrantees. This knowledge has enabled Mr. Locaria to assist both for-profit and nonprofit organizations with meeting the requirements for becoming a federal contractor or grantee, interpreting the implication of regulatory, contract and grant term to clients’ work and operations, evaluating and advising contractors and grantees on intellectual property issues and contract modifications, among many other issues.
Mr. Locaria also assists clients with their efforts to remain compliant with the myriad of applicable regulations and requirements. This includes providing training on relevant regulations and contract and grant terms, as well as federal ethics laws and practices, conducting internal audits and investigations, making improvement and/or remedial recommendations, implementing such recommendations, making appropriate disclosures to cognizant federal and state agencies, and defending clients during federal and state audits and investigations.
As a result of Mr. Locaria’s deep understanding of government contractor/grant compliance matters, Mr. Locaria is often involved in business formation, merger and acquisition and related business matters to provide expertise and advice on the implication of such activity on a client’s existing and future contracts/grants.
Suspension and Debarment: Mr. Locaria represents clients in suspension and debarment matters, as well as other eligibility and responsibility issues raised by federal and state agencies. In this capacity, Mr. Locaria has represented clients before all the various defense agencies (e.g., Army, Navy, Air Force, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA)), as well as various civilian agencies, such as the General Services Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, as well as DHS’s sub-agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, as well as several others.
Some of the suspension- and debarment-related matters Mr. Locaria and the Venable team successfully resolved included:
Small Business Matters:
- Representing a national manufacturing company with a host of Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, OSHA, and civil and criminal violations to avoid discretionary suspension or debarment. Mr. Locaria and his Venable colleagues were able to secure a voluntary exclusion for certain segments of the company while the matter was under review. Ultimately, Venable was able to reinstate those facilities subject to a statutory ineligibility, the entities under the voluntary exclusion were reinstated and the entire company entered into a compliance agreement with EPA. The company recently completed its time under the compliance agreement without incident and has maintained full contracting authority.
- Assisting a nonprofit, quasi-governmental mass-transit entity with resolving a statutory ineligibility with EPA and restoring the entity to full grant eligibility within a matter of days following its conviction.
- Representing an international company convicted on several counts of fraud and false statements before DLA regarding its present responsibility and contracting future with DoD. Ultimately, Mr. Locaria and his Venable colleagues were able to secure a compliance agreement for the company, which allowed it to continue to contract with the DoD and other federal agencies. This also required liaising with other agencies, such as GSA, which issued a show cause letter to the company for the same bases of debarment as DLA.
- Representing a multi-national company before the Maritime Administration to demonstrate that despite various criminal violations implicating the company’s integrity and ethical business practices, such company was in fact presently responsible. Ultimately, Mr. Locaria and his Venable colleagues were able to secure a compliance agreement for the company to allow it to fully contract with and received subsidies and other assistance from the federal government. This matter also involved a statutory ineligibility issue related to a Clean Water Act violation that was handled before EPA.
- Representing several entities, individuals, small businesses and non-profits before ICE for immigration-related convictions. In each instance, Mr. Locaria and his Venable colleagues were able to convince ICE that no action was necessary to protect the public interest.
Mr. Locaria has extensive experience working with small businesses to determine their size status, 8(a) and other socio-economic statuses, including analyzing affiliation issues. Mr. Locaria represents clients in both the prosecution and defense of small business size protests before the Small Business Administration and the Office of Hearing and Appeals.
GSA Federal Supply Schedule Contracting:
Mr. Locaria is also well-versed in assisting clients with GSA Federal Supply Schedule matters, in particular advising clients on how best to structure proposals to avoid price reduction clause (PRC) issues, and addressing PRC, Trade Agreements Act and other compliance matters post-award.
Homeland Security and the SAFETY Act:
Mr. Locaria represents a number of clients in homeland security-related matters including drafting guidelines for various companies' information handling, such as Sensitive Security Information, or in harnessing all the benefits of the SAFETY Act. In fact, Mr. Locaria has assisted several clients in receiving SAFETY Act Certification, the highest level of protection afforded under the Act. Mr. Locaria has published on the topic of the SAFETY Act and is a co-author and contributor to Venable's Homeland Security Desk Book.
Mr. Locaria actively participates in the American Bar Association as a vice chair of the Section of Public Contract Law Committee on Debarment and Suspension. He is also on the Board of Editors and a regular columnist for The Government Contracting Law Report.